Fun night lights for kids

I have kids that love doing crafts. I thought that they could be involved in crafts combined with some basic electronics to make some cool night lights for their rooms…

There isn’t much involved in this build. They hardest work was done by the kids. They each created the night light boxes out of Perler beads (https://www.perler.com). There are tons of patterns available online for these iron-together beads. They all chose a theme they were interested in. My three kids chose minecraft, dinosaurs, and unicorns. They each created the box squares out of the beads with their chosen pattern. We used white beads to complete each square to diffuse the LEDs a bit. After the squares were done, I just hot-glued them together to form a box. I left the bottom open to be able to easily access the electronics inside if needed.

For power, I used a cheap USB charger in each light:

Amazon.com: USB Wall Charger, HOOTEK 10Pack 1A/5V Single Port USB Cube Power Adapter Charging Block Charger Box Compatible iPhone 12 11 Pro Max/XR/XS/X/8, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Moto, Android Phone Charger

I was able to open up the charges to expose the inner components. I found that there is just barely enough room to stuff a bare esp8266 (flashed with WLED or course!) in there with an AMS1117 voltage regulator and capacitor, then close it back up.

50 pcs AMS1117 3.3V 1A Voltage Regulator AMS1117-3.3V: Vehicle Amplifier Fuses: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Amazon.com: 50x Radial Aluminum (5x11mm) Electrolytic Capacitor 10uF / 50V for DIY: Car Electronics

The bare esp8266 chip keeps it nice and compact enough to fit everything directly soldered inside the USB plug. I put a small hole in the front of the plug to allow for a CAT5 wire to push inside and solder to the power/ground/data pins of the esp8266. After soldering the wire and pushing it through the enclosure hole, I soldered the other end to a ws2812b LED strip. Each night light uses about 10 LEDs with the strip wrapped into a circular shape pointing out toward the bead walls. I cut a hole in the back square to the size/shape of the USB charger. Then the charger is pushed in and hot-glued into place and ready to go.

From there it’s non-stop fun for the kids to choose their colors/effects before bed at night.

Here are some photos (sorry, not many of the build process):

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Its great that you are doing crafts with your kids. But I’m not sure stuffing the extra components into the charger is a great idea.

COOL Project!
Could you just use a USB Male cable to power the board saving breaking the case of the charger?
Give the heat from the board somewhere to go…
Or am I overthinking this?

You could if you were using a nodemcu or D1 Mini or some other board that can run off the 5v USB power. The bare esp8266 requires 3.3 volts for power, so the regulator is needed for that. But there is certainly enough space inside the boxes to have the board outside of the USB charger.

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Here is another using the same concept. It’s a bathroom night light with a motion sensor. The middle of the flower is a small PIR sensor.

Amazon.com : ALAMSCN 6PCS AM312 Mini IR Human Sensor Module HC-SR312 Pyroelectric PIR Infrared Motion Automatic Detector for Arduino + Dupont Wire : Camera & Photo

The green stem is some rigid CAT6 cable that I had already. This one isn’t running WLED though. It’s using EspHome. The PIR sensor turns the LEDs on automatically and then has a built-in timer to shut itself off after 30 seconds of no motion. The probably could’ve been done using a custom mod of WLED, but I haven’t gotten that advanced yet.